Universe in Blue is a rarity. After-hours music, showcasing Sun Ra's twisted take on the Blues, these live recordings from 1972 provide an intriguing glimpse of the Arkestra’s repertoire and virtuosity at the close of their first decade playing in New York, and brought him to the greater attention of the New York press and helped cement his reputation for audacious showmanship. Ra and his band performed at the famed East Village Slug's almost every Monday night for several years through the late sixties, and took the stage sporadically for several years thereafter.
Based on a number of accounts, the Slugs shows typically started around 9:00 pm and could blaze on with or without breaks until 4:00 am. The personnel fluctuated, depending on who showed up, who was hanging around and could handle an instrument, and the bandleader's divinations. These evenings were raw, unpredictable, and calamitous, and not without artistic controversy. They brought Sun Ra greater attention from the New York press and helped cement his reputation for audacious showmanship.
This collection of undated live club performances was issued in small-run pressings with two different LP covers on Sun Ra's Saturn label around 1972, but has largely escaped further notice. It's never been available on CD, and only a previous unofficial LP reissue was available prior to this edition.